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CAF Champions League

Caf Champions League: Mosimane’s Al Ahly through to semi-finals after Raja Casablanca draw

9:12 AM GMT+4 23/04/2022
Mohamed Abdelmonem of Al Ahly celebrates goal with teammates.
The South African mentor continued with his fine run with the Red Devils after they reached the last four at the expense of the Moroccan outfit

Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly reached the semi-finals of the Caf Champions League after securing a 1-1 draw against Raja Casablanca in their quarter-final return-leg fixture at Mohammed V Stadium on Friday night.

The Red Devils had won the first leg meeting 2-1 at WE Al-Ahly Stadium in Cairo six days ago, and as such, they booked their last four slot in the continental competition on a 3-2 aggregate win.

However, it was the Democratic Republic of Congo forward Fabrice Ngoma, who put the Moroccan giants ahead in the fifth minute before Mohamed Abdelmonem scored the leveller in the 44th minute.

Mosimane’s compatriot Percy Tau started up top for Al Ahly alongside Taher Mohamed, Amr El Solia, and Mali international Aliou Dieng, while last season's Champions League Golden Boot winner Mohamed Sherif was dropped to the bench.

However, it took the home team only five minutes to find the net, when Ngoma received a clever pass from Mohamed Zrida, took two Al Ahly defenders head-on before slotting the ball past the advancing goalkeeper Mohammed El Shenawy.

Egypt’s Al Ahly responded almost immediately with a very quick counter-attack initiated by Bafana Bafana’s Tau, and after setting up El Solia, he directed his effort straight into the gloves of Anas Zniti.

In the 17th minute, Al Ahly were provided with a chance to level the scores, when Senegal referee Maguette N’Diaye awarded them a penalty but the resultant effort from defender Ali Maaloul was saved by Zniti. However, with one minute left to the half-time break, Al Ahly scored the equaliser when Abd Elmonem’s left-footed effort slipped past Zniti.

The second period started with the same intensity with Al Ahly looking the most dangerous side. Sensing defeat, Raja coach Rachid Taoussi made a change to his forward line in the 68th minute when Zakaria Habti came on for Badr Boulahroud.

This was after Mosimane had pulled out Hussein El Shahat for Ayman Ashraf in the 57th minute. It was Al Ahly, who almost took the lead for the first time in the game, when Ashraf raced through on goal after being set up by Tau, but his final decision saw his effort go inches wide.

Mosimane then made a double change, Ahmed Abdelkader and Sherif coming in for Taher Mohamed and Mohamed Abdelmonem while Raja brought in Soufiane Benjdida for Mohsine Moutaouali.

Meanwhile, Tau was withdrawn in the 82nd minute for Salah Mohsen but the changes could not change the result as Al Ahly held on to reach another semi-final in front of 42, 000 fans.

In the semis, Al Ahly will square off with ES Setif of Algeria, who eliminated Esperance Sportive de Tunis on a 1-0 aggregate result. The two sides had settled for a 0-0 draw in the first leg at Stade du 5 Juillet before Setif recovered to win the return leg 1-0 away at Stade Olympique de Rades on Friday.